Capture One Announces Subscription And Payment Changes, Annoying Users

Regarding their workflow, many professional photographers can quickly get overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending membership fees they must make to various software packages.

The possibility for a monthly budget drain is present in a wide variety of places, including but not limited to storage platforms such as Drive or Dropbox and editing and proofreading tools like Adobe and Shootproof. Now, Capture One also desires a little bit more of your financial support.

The platform informed its users, through email, of new software releases and billing rules that are as follows. These changes were recently revealed as part of modifications to the platform’s payment and license policies.

“From 2023 we will no longer be tied to an annual cycle for major releases. As a result, there will not be a Capture One 24. Instead, we will continuously release new tools and features on a rolling basis throughout the year.

We will also change our perpetual licenses from February 1, 2023. Here’s what’s changing:

New perpetual licenses will include updates with bug fixes until the next version, but new features released after purchase will not be included.
Upgrade pricing will no longer be available and replaced with a new loyalty scheme. More details will be announced on February 1, 2023.”

Rolling software updates and subscription pricing will effectively take the role of annual software releases and several choices for license renewal under the new system. Those users who have purchased a perpetual license for the most current prior version of C1 will have to go through this process to have access to any new features.

However, the terms of the loyalty program for existing customers are still unknown, and it appears they won’t be revealed until February at the earliest.

This final piece of information, in particular, infuriated an astounding number of C1 users. These users said that keeping it hidden from them until later prevents them from understanding where the actual value is and, consequently, makes them feel forced into selecting a subscription plan.

According to the statements of one customer who had previously purchased the most recent version of Capture One 23,

“The current 30% discount to upgrade ends at the end of Jan. But they won’t tell us what the new ‘Loyalty Program’ is until Feb 1st. So purposely denying customers the ability to know what is the best route. For all we know, the ‘Loyalty’ prize could be a box of bananas and a cheesecake. Hardly being transparent, is it?”

Another user of Capture One put up one of the causes for consumer ire by asking:

“Why do you think customers are so angry?”

“So, if I understand correctly, that means that those of us who used to regularly upgrade (upgrades that went from $99 to $199 over a few years already) their perpetual license will now have to buy a full license each time there is a partial release? That is a clever move to go to a subscription-only model without saying it.”

Capture One person elaborated to make the issue clear,

“Capture One offers perpetual and subscription licenses for users. The difference between those is the term of validity. A perpetual license is everlasting (for life, providing that you meet the minimum system requirements), while with a subscription plan you have to make regular payments to keep the license active – but you always have access to the latest version.”

C1’s PR and Editorial Manager, Marianna Eliassen, further attempted to calm ruffled feathers by saying

“Just to be clear, we are not ending perpetual licenses. We know that this option is important to some of our customers, and we are committed to keeping this available for them. Anyone who has bought or will buy Capture One 23 before February 1, 2023, will still enjoy the same benefits as they would with any previous version of the software. After this date, everyone will still be able to buy a perpetual license and fully enjoy the features that come with it in perpetuity.”

She did not, however, explicitly address the primary question that was posed on the photography website. The question inquired about consumers’ perceptions that they had been misled after purchasing C1’s most recent permanent license without being aware of what was on the horizon.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the vast majority of comments from Capture One’s current users expressed extreme displeasure with these adjustments.

The reason for this is self-evident: those who purchased C1’s most recent perpetual license update for version 23 of the program were unaware that it would be rendered basically useless in such a short amount of time when they made their purchase. They also do not yet have any means of knowing what the benefits of the loyalty program will be.

In addition, these customers need to accept that any new features added to C1 beyond version 23 will only be accessible through a revamped subscription model with associated fees.

Now, Capture One has more or less adopted the same product release and payment system that Adobe currently uses for its customers.

The fact that existing customers of Capture One could continue to use the software they had previously purchased without making additional monthly payments was one of the most significant advantages offered by the product. They were free to upgrade to a new perpetual license allowing them to use a more recent version of the software. This is no longer the situation at this time.

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